Demystifying Côtes-du-Rhône

The Rhône Valley is one of the oldest wine regions in France, and one of the most complicated. It is located in between Provence (to the south) and Burgundy (to the north) just west of the Alps. The northern Rhône usually produces single varietal wines whereas the southern Rhône generally produces blends. So, what makes it so complex? The classification process.

First off: what wine is classified as just “Côtes-du-Rhône”?  Côtes-du-Rhône wines are the most basic wines of the Rhône region. There are white, red, and rose wines from the Rhône. Most reds/rose wines are made using grenache, syrah, mouvèdre, and cinsaut (it can vary) and most whites are made from the roussane, marsanne, vigonier, grenache blanc or clarette grapes.

So… what technically is the region of Côtes-du-Rhône Villages?  Côtes-du-Rhône-villages is an additional AOC region INSIDE of the Côtes-du-Rhône region.

Ok, that must make Côtes-du-Rhône-Villages as the top wine AOC in that area then, right?  -WRONG, in addition to the label of ‘Villages’, there are several communes in the AOC region that are allowed to label the wine with their additional local appellation, these appellations are called the ‘Crus’ of Côtes-du-Rhône-Villages. There are only 18 named villages out of the 95 communes that make up the Côtes-du-Rhône region. Within these 18 named villages, there are 15 “Crus” villages.

Here’s a list of all the recognized Crus: Beaumes-de-Venise, Chateau Grillet, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Condrieu, Cornas, Cote-Rotie, Crozes Hermitage, Gigondas, Hermitage, Lirac, Rasteau, Saint Joseph, Saint Peray, Tavel, Vaqueryas, Vinsobles.

And of course the most important question: what Côtes-du-Rhône/Côtes-du-Rhône-Villages do Portalis carry?

Domaine Clavel 2007 Syrius Côtes du Rhône Villages St. Gervais
Regular: $19.99 | Insider: $17.99 | Mixed Case: $15.99

Andrieux & Fils 2007 Gigondas
Regular: $27.99| Insider: $25.99 | Mixed Case: $22.39

Domaine de la Vieille Ferme de l’Eoune 2009 Rasteau
Regular: $19.99 | Insider: $17.99 | Mixed Case: $15.99

Le Gravillas 2009 Plan de Dieu Côtes du Rhône Villages
Regular: $17.99  Insider: $15.99 |Mixed Case: $14.39

Domaine De Marcoux 2009 Chateauneuf-du-Pape
Regular: $84.99 | Mixed Case: $67.99